The Western Environmental Law Center, a nonprofit public-interest environmental law firm, is proud to announce the addition of former New Mexico Environmental Improvement Division head, Department of Finance and Administration Secretary, and University of New Mexico Professor of Law Denise Fort to its board of directors.

Denise Fort has over 40 years of experience in environmental and natural resources law – in legal practice, teaching, policy making and advocacy. Fort began her career as an attorney with two New Mexico environmental groups and with the state’s Taxation and Revenue Department. She was appointed Secretary of the New Mexico Department of Finance and Administration at the age of 31 and then served as head of the Environmental Improvement Division.

“We are thrilled to welcome to our board such a distinguished leader in Western conservation policy to help us better protect our treasured landscapes, their iconic wildlife, and our shared climate,” said WELC Executive Director Erik Schlenker-Goodrich.

After a short stint in California as executive director of Citizens for a Better Environment and a Board member of Earth Island Institute, Fort turned her focus to teaching as director of the Water Resources Administration Program at the University of New Mexico and a member of the law faculty. In 1995, she chaired the Western Water Policy Review Advisory Commission, a presidential panel appointed to review the role of the federal government in western water issues. She has also been active in the National Research Council, an arm of the National Academy of Sciences. Her advocacy work continues with a small group that is building support for environmental protection among new constituencies in New Mexico.

“WELC is a very effective group, with a lean staff and carefully focused work,” said Fort “The environmental challenges in the western U.S. require an understanding of the physical and social environment and we in the West are fortunate to have this group that loves the land and people of this region.”

“Denise’s addition will elevate WELC’s work and reputation as an organization,” said Board President Karin Sheldon. “Today, we are better equipped than ever to meet the critical environmental challenges and opportunities facing the American West.”

Founded in 1993, the Western Environmental Law Center uses the power of the law to safeguard the wildlife, wildlands, and communities of the American West. WELC is governed by a board of directors comprised of renowned attorneys, academics, and conservationists from across the country.


Erik Schlenker-Goodrich, WELC Executive Director, 575-751-0351,

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